Learn How to Make Healthier Hot Chocolate
Select the right milk: This depends on your preferences and what you’re looking for in your hot cocoa. Unsweetened almond milk will give you the lowest-calorie drink, but it’s pretty shy on nutrients (although the fortified kind will give you calcium). Cow’s milk gives you protein, calcium and vitamins A and D. Choosing low-fat or reduced-fat milk will give you a bit of the creaminess of milk, with fewer calories than whole milk.
Add cocoa: All that positive news about chocolate and your health? It’s talking about cocoa powder. Cocoa powder (and specifically natural cocoa powder rather than the Dutch-processed kind) has antioxidants, which promote blood flow — a benefit that may help with memory and heart health. Use a heaping tablespoon per cup of milk.
Sweeten it (lightly): Let the bitterness of cocoa shine by using a minimal amount of sweetener. Use a teaspoon of sugar or, for an extra dose of antioxidants, a drizzle of maple syrup. For a sugar-free treat, you can use a touch of stevia. A bit of vanilla extract also adds a sweet flavor without sugar.
Spice it up: Cinnamon, cardamom and ginger all pair well with cocoa and deliver a host of antioxidants, as well as flavor.